“KFP 2″ Stumbles in US, Audiences Avoid 3-D Version

Kung Fu Panda 2

Shares of DreamWorks Animation dropped today to their lowest point in two years, and equally significant, shares of 3D hardware firm Real D plummeted over 12% (as of this writing).

The stock market was reacting to the weak domestic debut of Kung Fu Panda 2. The film’s three-day weekend gross of $47.8 million compared unfavorably to the original Kung Fu Panda‘s $60.2 million opening in 2008. The decline in attendance was even more pronounced: 6.1 million viewers for the sequel versus 8.4 million viewers for the original, or a loss of over one-third of the audience.

Only 45% of the audience opted to pay the higher 3-D ticket premium. According to Box Office Mojo: “A 3D share in the 60 percent range would have been healthy. That’s what Shrek Forever After had last May with fewer 3D venues.” The news is especially troubling for DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg who has touted 3-D as the most revolutionary advance in filmmaking since sound and color and whose studio now makes films exclusively in 3-D. This time around, the majority of viewers chose to forgo the revolution to save a few dollars.

Kung Fu Panda 2 ended up with $68 million over the five-day holiday period, which looks especially weak compared to the four-day $61 million Memorial Day gross of Madagascar back in 2005. The bright spot: Kung Fu Panda 2 posted strong openings around the world, banking $57 million in its opening weekend from eleven countries, including powerful starts in China and Russia, and opening weekend records for an animated feature in South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and India.

“Looks That Kill” trailer by Kevin Dart and Stéphane Coëdel

Here’s the stylish new short film/trailer/music video for the Kevin Dart’s latest Yuki 7 and the Gadget Girls adventure:

Produced entirely in After Effects using Kevin’s artwork, co-director Coëdel says:

“Our goal here was to upgrade the overall quality compared to the previous film “A Kiss From Tokyo”. To move away from a pure tribute to movies and TV series from the 60s and develop Yuki’s world. Graphics are less sketchy, the animation smoother and we’ve got rid of all the vintage FX (film jump, retro projected backgrounds, etc…). We worked on this film during the little spare time we had, so the production spread out over a year. But the real effective time spent making it was more or less 2 and a half months.”

You can pre-order of Kevin Dart and Elizabeth Ito’s new book Looks That Kill, which includes both animated trailers on DVD, plus several behind the scene extras, at the Yuki-7 website.

Helen Bullough Promoted to Head of CBBC Production

Helen Bullough has been appointed as Head of CBBC Production with responsibility for all in house production for CBBC in MediaCityUK.

She’ll lead a team of over 200 staff, creating shows such as Blue Peter, Newsround, Tracy Beaker Returns, Legend Of Dick And Dom and Serious Explorers.

Helen is currently Head of Entertainment Production North in Manchester and Head of Vision North. She is responsible for a team of 130 staff in Manchester that produce key network shows including Mastermind, Question Of Sport, Dragon’s Den and Antiques Master. For the last two years Helen has also been Head of Vision North, leading the Manchester-based Vision departments through the migration to MediaCityUK.

Director of BBC Children’s, Joe Godwin, says: “Helen brings a wealth of experience across many genres and will be a brilliant leader for CBBC’s in-house production team and a fabulous addition to Children’s senior management team.”

Helen joined the BBC in 1991 as a Broadcast Journalist Trainee in News, moving to Manchester in 1993 to work on the Daytime and Features slate. She has worked in the North ever since on a wide range of output ranging from religious documentaries to Rough Guides; Fred Dibnah to Dragon’s Den. She ran the Manchester Entertainment development team for three years and has developed and executive produced shows for BBC One, Two, Three and Four plus multiplatform and Red Button output.

She says: “I’m thrilled! I’ve always had a brilliant time in Manchester working with the teams here. Now this is a fantastic creative opportunity to join talented inhouse colleagues at CBBC in MediaCity UK, helping to deliver the next generation of content to the next generation of BBC audiences — inspired by the North and delighting young viewers everywhere.”

Helen lives with her family on the edge of the Peak District.

Modus FX Announces Animated Film “Sarila” Based on Inuit People

Modus FX has embarked on an ambitious new stereoscopic 3D journey — an 80-minute animated film called Sarila. Directed by Nancy Florence Savard, Sarila is a compelling coming-of-age story set amongst the Inuit people of the Arctic. Starring Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, The Last Station), Geneviève Bujold (Anne of the Thousand Days, The Trotsky), Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight, Barney’s Version), Dustin Milligan (Beverly Hills 90210, Slither) and Natar Ungalaq (The Fast Runner) the production will be the first feature-length stereoscopic animated film created in Canada.
For director Savard, the film has been a labour of love for the past ten years. “Sarila tells the story of three young Inuit who strike out on their own in order to save their clan from starvation,” she said. “This is an inspirational story, full of hope. It shows young people facing daunting challenges and, through the experience, taking control of their lives. Their world is exotic to us but their experience is universal.”
Written by acclaimed children’s author Roger Harvey and Pierre Tremblay, an expert in Inuit culture, and adapted by Paul Risacher, the film uses authentic settings and indigenous mythology in order to capture the world of the “Great White North.”
“The story draws on Inuit legends from different regions of the arctic,” said Savard, “but then it moves beyond those traditional archetypes to tell a new story.”
Sarila invites the use of stereo 3D,” explained Savard. “The characters travel across the tundra, through snow storms, and meet strange, semi-mythical characters along the way. The immersive quality of the stereo 3D draws the audience into their odyssey.”
Modus FX came on board as a investment partner late last year, and began working with the film’s art director Philippe Arsenault Bussières in January to translate his water color concept art into 3D geometry that can be rendered stereoscopically. The result is an original, stylized aesthetic for stereo 3D.
“In our VFX work we usually mimic reality, but with this project we are creating something different,” said visual effects supervisor Eric Clément. “Our goal is to capture the essence of the original concept art. We want to ‘push’ the look of stereo 3D, instead of going in the photoreal direction that a lot of current animation is doing.”
Working together with the art director, the texture team at Modus developed a technique for mixing colors with a custom brush in Photoshop. Surfaces, such as the characters’ clothing, for example, blend a watercolor look with photographic references to create the final result.
Modus currently has a team of 85 artists on the project, many of whom were involved in the facility’s recent March of the Dinosaurs project, a 90-minute animation for National Geographic and The History Channel, which was, coincidentally, also set in the Arctic. Sarila includes 950 shots, so the 15-month production schedule requires an efficient pipeline and relies on several key Modus-developed technologies.
Setting the Scene in the Arctic

The vast and desolate landscapes of the Arctic play an important role in the narrative and atmosphere of the story. Since the film is in stereo 3D, the process of creating these landscapes is more complex than with traditional matte painting. “The old-school tricks of doing ‘2D cheats’ in compositing, like doing a matte painting to extend the background — those don’t work in stereo,” said Clément. “You need to include the geometry with the images.”
To solve the problem, the Modus team has developed a pipeline for creating 3D maps of matte paintings. The spatial coordinates for each landscape are built in Softimage XSI, allowing the team to create and render left and right eye cameras. The shots are then assembled in Nuke, again using custom tools developed at Modus. “This way of building our 3D geometry is very effective for working out backgrounds, such as skies,” explained Clément.
Another challenge for stereo 3D animations is the volume of data to be managed. Modus has developed a number of technologies for this, including the Modus FX SceneBuilder. This tool enables artists to load “subsets” of a scene, in order to work on one particular element without the overhead of the whole scene. “The film includes 30 different environments, so the MFX SceneBuilder has become a critical tool in keeping our shot pipeline moving efficiently,” noted Clément.
Modus has also turbocharged their infrastructure by implementing the new Arnold rendering system. “It’s amazingly fast in terms of motion blur, subsurfaces and other computationally-intensive processes,” said Clément. This required creating a new compatible shader library, but the faster render times have easily justified the extra effort. “We keep finding ways to get more out of our pipeline,” he added “the result is that our artists can focus on the art, and don’t have to think about the technology.”
Rigging Done Right

Sarila has a total of 35 talking characters, including people and animals, so rigging and lip-synching are another area where an efficient workflow is critical. “We have bipeds, quadrupeds and birds to animate,” said Clément, “so we created a system that would allow our artists to rig their characters in different shots without having to start from scratch each time they started on a new scene.”
The Modus FX AutoRigger, developed specially for Sarila, allows artists to generate biped and quadruped bones structures. With the MFX AutoRigger artists can apply movement patterns to their characters automatically and then manually adjust the movements for each shot. “For example, for a sled pulled by five dogs, we want our animator to be able to start with the basic running movements and refine the work from there,” explained Clément.
The film is being entirely keyframe animated and lipsynched by hand. The voice tracks were recorded by the cast earlier this year at Technicolor and assembled at Studio Expression in Qubec City. “Our AutoRigger buys us extra time, for work like this,” opined Clément. “Being efficient up front means the artists can afford to spend time on the small timing details that make animation come alive on the screen.”
Modus has also created a system for automating compositing work. This solution uses templates which can be applied to similar shots automatically from the 3D data. “A script is generated and a pre-comp is sent to our dailies for review,” explained Clément. “This gives the compositors a good starting point if further work on the comp is needed. We first created this system a few years ago. Like the AutoRigger, it allows our artists to produce better shots more quickly.”
“It’s exciting for all of us to be creating Canadian film history,” said Marc Bourbonnais, president and co-founder of Modus FX. “We’re proud to be working with Carpe Diem Film & TV and 10th Avenue Productions on Sarila and look forward to sharing this beautiful story with audiences around the world.”
Produced by Carpe Diem Film & TV Inc. and 10th Ave. Productions, and executive produced by Marie-Claude Beauchamp, Normand Thauvette, Paul Risacher & Nancy Florence Savard, Sarila is scheduled for release in 2012.

Aleix Saló’s “Españistán” Exposes Spain’s Housing Bubble

Españistán by Aleix Saló serves as a reminder that animation is a medium for educating and informing as well as entertaining. The topic: an explanation of Spain’s housing bubble and subsequent economic crisis. Sound familiar? It’s currently the most popular animated short in Spain, which has been mired in weeks of protests and sit-ins by people who are fed up by the country’s two-party political system and its class of arrogant and out of touch politicians. Sound even more familiar?

Above is an English fansub of Españistán; the original upload has garnered over 1.3 million in the six days since its debut.

(Thanks, Animaholic)

Comment of the Day: Digital Domain Should Avoid Missteps of Others

Digital Domain is jumping head first into the feature animation game. Veteran studio owner and director Uli Meyer suggested in our comments that DD should look carefully at the past and avoid repeating the mistakes of other vfx houses that have tried to do the same thing:

The big post production houses are all depending on service work and the idea of creating content must be very tempting. If successful, that could mean a certain independence and less having to bid against other post houses to secure a few effects shots on the next big blockbuster. It makes a lot of sense to try and do that from a business point of view.

Framestore in the UK did go part of the way towards that goal by making A Tale Of Desperaux as a service project but have not managed to follow with one of their own (as far as I know). Being good at running an effects company does not automatically make you a film maker. Hiring a hand-full of people who have been employed by one of the other content creators before is a start but if those guys do not have the infrastructure to support them, their best ideas won’t go very far. And with infrastructure I don’t mean render farms and fur software.

If the management will allow an entirely new structure to develop, there is a chance something good can happen. And should they manage to make one film, a second won’t happen immediately and I guess they can always use their new facility to work on effects shots.

Whenever I read about news like this, I have this idea that the people in charge should look at all the other failed similar attempts by others and try and learn from those mistakes. There are plenty of them. I sincerely hope those mistakes won’t happen here, only time will tell. As to family films — there is always room for another one as long as it is a good one, whatever that is. Good luck!

Tom & Jerry LIVE!

You can have your Lion King or Shrek The Musical… Me, I want my Tom and Jerry Live! Last night in Argentina was the off-off-off-off-Broadway debut of a new stage musical based on Hanna-Barbera cartoon superstars.

The show opened this weekend at Teatro Lola Membrives in Buenos Aires, then will travel to theaters in Chile and Peru during 2011. According to the show’s website:

Under the direction of Leandro Panetta, Tom, Jerry, Spike and the gang go on stage, recreating classic cartoons with songs, chases, jokes, games and stunts. Tom and Jerry travel from opera to medieval times, then run and chase from the living room into the garden. Actors, dancers, singers and acrobats on stage guide to the public in this magical world where Friendship is always the result of each and every encounter persecution.

The show is constructed around specific cartoon shorts, including The Two Mouseketeers, The Cat Above the Mouse Below and the Gene Kelly sequence from Anchors Aweigh. However, based on the initial reviews and the costumes pictured above, I’m glad Bill and Joe aren’t around to see this. What’s that between Tom’s legs? Is he defecating, or is that his “willie“… or is it his tail?

(Thanks, Jorge Finkielman)

Digital Domain Sets Up Florida Shop, Aims To Be Next Pixar

Digital Domain

Visual effects house Digital Domain is building a $40 million, 120,000-square foot studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The plan: expand beyond service work for live-action features and create “extremely clean, family films that are memorable, strong, powerful stories.” Since feature animation is quite nearly the most lucrative thing going in Hollywood right now, everybody wants a piece of the action. Digital Domain is moving in the direction of vfx shops like Sony Imageworks and more recently ILM, which released its first original production, Rango, earlier this year. DD has already greenlit an idea for its first feature (what is it?) and hopes to have it in theaters by 2014.

The only hitch is that Digital Domain has been talking about creating original content since the mid-1990s. The company tried to launch an IPO a few years back which failed to ignite interest from investors. Now, they’re getting ready to try the IPO again. This time they hope the results will be different. For starters, the state of Florida and the city of Port St. Lucie has awarded them $70 million worth of incentive grants to set up shop down there. Second, they’ve hired Disney animator and Brother Bear co-director Aaron Blaise to helm their first feature, presumably so that he will recreate some of that Brother Bear magic.

They’ve also hired the executive producer of Brother Bear, Chuck Williams, who told the TCPalm that, “As Pixar is struggling with sequels and Disney’s struggling to find itself, I think it’s a good time for us to come in with a different point of view with great family films.” Frankly, other studios would kill to struggle as much as Disney/Pixar, which created the top grossing film at the worldwide box office last year, plus another animated feature in the top ten.

Plenty more details about DD’s plans in this TCPalm article, including this bit:

In exchange for incentives, the company agreed to create up to 500 jobs with an average annual salary of $65,000 by 2014. The company, now at 243 employees, is on its way to overwhelmingly exceeding that goal.

According to the article, only 15 of those employees work in its feature animation division. The photo up top is of (l. to r.) Chuck Williams, Aaron Blaise, and Craig Grasso. There’s also a solo photo of Aaron Blaise accompanying the TCPalm piece which has a special surprise that I’ve highlighted below:

Aaron Blaise

I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything, but as a rule of thumb, if you’re launching a new animation studio, it’s a smart idea to make sure that logos of other studios’ animated films aren’t visible in publicity shots.

“La Detente” by Bertrand Bey and Pierre Ducos

La Détente, a new short by Bertrand Bey and Pierre Ducos of London’s Not To Scale, has been selected to compete at Annecy 2011.

La Détente is an animated short movie set in a trench during the first World War, where a French soldier becomes paralyzed with fear. His mind disconnects from reality and he escapes into a dream world where wars are fought by toys.

Sounds good, looks great. It was recently screened at the Cannes film festival and is currently making the rounds at European film festivals. Here’s the trailer:

“Frog Raccoon Strawberry” Takes on Grumpy Cartoon Historians

Amid Amidi

In today’s edition of Kyle Carrozza and John Berry’s Frog Raccoon Strawberry, January and Strawberry attend a cartoon convention where they encounter a grouchy and pedantic animation historian named Imad Imadi. I’m so glad I don’t know anybody like that.

(Thanks, TempleDog)

3-D “Lion King” To Premiere In Theatres this September and DVD in October

Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa are back and better than ever this fall when Disney’s The Lion King roars into theaters and homes in breathtaking 3D. A special two-week theatrical extravaganza kicks off Sept. 16, 2011, showcasing the Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winning film on the big screen in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢ for the first time ever, and its highly anticipated home entertainment debut kicks off October 4, celebrating the Diamond Edition release of the epic movie The Lion King in high-definition Blu-rayâ„¢ and Blu-ray 3Dâ„¢.

“The Lion King is the best-selling home entertainment release of all time–and this is The Lion King like never before,” said Bob Chapek, president of distribution, The Walt Disney Studios. “The all-new 3D format immerses viewers in the epic settings and puts them face-to-face with these beloved characters. We’re showcasing one of the all-time favorite Disney movies in theaters and making it available in Blu-ray hi-def and in Blu-ray 3D–it’s the must-see, must-own title for everyone.”

Nearly a decade since The Lion King last appeared on the big screen, the upcoming theatrical release invites new generations into the “Circle of Life.” The two-week, 3D-only presentation is a planned wide domestic release–the biggest since the film’s 1994 debut–and the film’s first-ever 3D release.

The Blu-ray debut marks the first  Lion King has been available in any form since 2004. Featuring pristine high definition picture and sound, the Blu-ray creates an incredible at-home experience with a host of picture and sound enhancements, interactive features and bonus content, including a new set of hilarious animated bloopers.

The Lion King: Diamond Edition home entertainment release will be available from the Disney Vault for a limited time only beginning October 4 as follows:

  • 4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (for the suggested retail price of $49.99 U.S./ $56.99 Canada)
    - The Lion King = Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray 2D + DVD + Digital Copyâ„¢
  • 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (for the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S./$46.99 Canada)
    - The Lion King = Blu-ray 2D + DVD
  • 8-Disc Trilogy (for the suggested retail price of $100.00 U.S./ $115.00 Canada)
    - The Lion King = Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray 2D + DVD + Digital Copy
    - The Lion King 1 ½ = Blu-ray 2D + DVD
    - The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride = Blu-ray 2D + DVD

And the one-disc DVD Edition will be available on November 15.

The Lion King, first released in 1994, won the Oscar® for Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer) and Best Original Song (Elton John/Tim Rice “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”), earning Golden Globes® in both categories, as well as for Best Motion Picture–Comedy or Musical.

The film inspired an immensely popular, Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical, which is currently featured on stages worldwide. It became the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history in January 2011.

Gallery Nucleus Presents “Baker’s Dozen: Illustrated Idioms by 13 Artists” and “Nate Wraggs: Locals”

June 11, 2011 — July 04, 2011
Opening Reception: June 11, 2011(7 pm – 11 pm)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a few words can make a delightfully pretty picture. This exhibit has of 13 fresh, diverse, and notable young artists visually exploring their favorite idiom.

Idioms are playful expressions of any language. Consisting of phrases or sentences that do not literally mean what they say, illustrating them results in works that are visually striking, whimsical, humorous, and downright fun!

Featured Artists: Ming Ong, You Byun, Brittney Lee, Matte Stephans, Dadu Shin, Catia Chien, Miki Sato, Nicole Gustafsson, Lorena Alverez, Ahren Herte, Nico Duffaut, and Daniela Volpari

For more information, please see: http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/exhibition/281

Also opening the same night in the upstairs Atrium gallery is Locals, a solo-exhibition by Nate Wragg.

Exhibition Details:

As we grow older and drift from year to year, we find ourselves filling our days with busy schedules and routines and in that haze of work and responsibility, we often lose track of those living amongst us–the ones who live in that hard-to-see spot just out of the corner of our eyes; the ones inhabiting the world where our imagination borders our realities. These are the local friends and foes populating the world around us. Everyday these spirits hide in plain sight, all the while filling our very existence with every personality we see and hear. The very creatures and characters we walk past everyday are those we forget the most–hiding just around the corner at the coffee shop down the street, or right behind that tree in the woods by your house. They aren’t hard to see, and are actually pretty easy to find. All you have to do is look…and you’ll find them living in that dark space under your bed, or up in the clouds–in the worlds you dreamed of as a kid.

About the Artist

Nate Wragg was born in Davis, CA in 1983. He took an interest in drawing and painting at an early age. After graduating high school he studied animation and design at The California Institute of the Arts in Southern California. Since then, Wragg has gone on to work as an illustrator and designer on various projects-including Ratatouille, Toy Story 3 and the soon-to-be-released Puss and Boots. He was also the Production Designer of Pixar’s short film Your Friend the Rat, and has been involved in designing several main title sequences, most notably the animated end titles for Ratatouille. In addition to working in animation, Wragg has broken into the world of children’s book publishing with his illustrations for Disney Publishing’s Too Many Cooks. His work has been shown in various galleries in Los Angeles, as well as in the New York Society of Illustrators 50th Annual Showcase. The artist currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife.

“Jazz In Animation” at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum

How are you spending your holiday weekend? Me, I’ll be screening a program of Jazz Cartoons at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento California on Monday, May 30th. The program will run twice, first at 12 noon and again at 2pm. Jazz musician and author Joe Gilman will join me on stage to briefly discuss the cultural aspects of several classic cartoons and clips. Admission to this event is free. Hope to meet a few Brew readers there. For more information, visit the Crocker Museum website.

Brenda Chapman Speaks About Role of Women in Animation

Brenda Chapman

This LA Times article about the changing role of women in animation offers the first quote I’ve seen from Brenda Chapman since she was kicked off of Pixar’s Brave:

“I think it’s a really sad state. We’re in the 21st century and there are so few stories geared towards girls, told from a female point of view.”

The article goes on to say that she was fired from Brave over “creative differences” and that she is currently on a leave of absence from Pixar, though she will receive a directing credit on the film. My guess — and it’s only a guess — is that she has to remain with the company contractually until the film is completed in order to receive her credit.

See also: Meet Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the director of Kung Fu Panda 2

Animated Short Film “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” Comes to iPad

Moonbot Studios, a multi-platform storytelling company, today announced The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore App, an animated children’s short film and book for iPad, is now available on the App Store. 

 To date, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore film has been accepted at over a dozen national and international film festivals, and has captured a number of honors including San Jose’s CINEQUEST Festival’s “Best Animated Short Film Award” and Cleveland International Film Festival’s “Best Animated Short Film Award.” 

“We’ve combined the 26 original pages of my book with the best animation from the film to create an interactive experience for readers of all ages,” said William Joyce, managing creative partner of Moonbot Studios. “We see iPad as a new way to experience a narrative. The result is an interactive story that involves the reader on an emotional and imaginative level that wasn’t possible until now.”

“When iPad was announced we knew instantly that we had the vehicle for debuting this new kind of immersive picture book,” explained Brandon Oldenburg, co-founder of Moonbot Studios. “It was the kind of technology we’d been waiting for, and we’re excited to now bring this interactive narrative experience to readers on iPad.”

The app includes a wealth of interactive elements tailored to help advance the story, including: 

- A piano keyboard that teaches kids how to play the song, “Pop Goes the Weasel” on life-like piano keys. 

- Alphabet cereal in the bowl that readers can rearrange to spell words or phrases. 

- Torn pages of old book illustrations that can be taped back together in a puzzle game. 

- Readers being able to lose themselves in the app by flying through its words and pages with a tilt of the screen. 

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore App is available for $4.99 from the App Store on iPad or at  www.itunes.com/appstore. 

A stand-alone version of the short film is available for $2.99 on iTunes or at  www.itunes.com.

Dublin-Based Brown Bag Films Looking To Hire 30+ Animation/Production Professionals

Two time Academy Award™ nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films is recruiting talented animation and production professionals to work with us on a range of high profile computer animation television series.These new roles include storyboard artists, animation directors, 3D animators and modellers, as well as technical and production crew.

If you would like to join the team behind shows like Olivia, Noddy and The Octonauts at our Dublin based studio, please check out the positions listed below.

If you are interested in applying please submit your CV and application form to [email protected].

We are accepting applications for the following:

Please note that every completed application form submitted will receive a response via email within 1-2weeks

TELETOON Canada Greenlights “Pirate Express” Series From Atomic Cartoon and Ellipseanime

Atomic Cartoons is pleased to announce the commencement of development on Pirate Express with TELETOON Canada. Pirate Express, (52 X 11) a comedy for kids 7 — 11, is a co-production with France’s Ellipsanime.

“When Boris Guilloteau and Alexis Leveillé presented us with this original concept, we fell for the engaging characters, the wacky story and the freshness of the design. We are ready to embark with this scurvy Pirate team on a new adventure and we are very happy to have Atomic’s talented team join us” says Robert Rea, CEO Ellipsanime.

“We were thrilled to have Ellipsanime approach us with this fantastic concept and equally elated to have been given the thumbs-up for development by TELETOON. We are really looking forward to developing this for series.” Says Rob Davies, VP of Development at Atomic Cartoons.

Pirate Express is about an adventurous 12-year-old Atlantean boy named Newt who has been given the challenging task of leading a motley crew of unruly pirates on bizarre voyages. Newt captains the pirate vessel, Fancy Pants, much to the chagrin of the original captain, Henri LaFailurette, who must reluctantly still accompany the team on missions. Newt is the son of the almighty Poseidon who has given the pirates the job of supporting his youngest son on these journeys. Should the pirates fail, they will be sent back to exile on a ship in a bottle for all eternity.

Pirate Express gives our viewers the kind of zany story-lines and outlandish characters that they constantly crave,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Programming, TELETOON Canada inc. ”We’re excited to add this series to our development slate.”

Call For Entries: Animation Film Festival Animated Dreams

Animated Dreams, the oldest and biggest Estonian animation film festival, offers Estonian animators a chance to display the state of their art as well as promotes high-quality international animation culture. From its beginnings as an offshoot of Black Nights Film Festival back in 1999, the event has evolved into a small independent festival. The festival consists of the short animation competitive
programme and several special programmes. Traditions include lectures by foreign guests, meetings and workshops.

The short film competition is open to films of any genre and animation technique.

Eligible films must be:

a) short and medium-length (-45 min) animated films;
b) premiered after 1 January, 2010;
c) screened in 35 mm, HDCAM, DigiBeta, or Blu-ray;
d) with English subtitles, if not in English.

Deadline for application is August 15, 2011.
this date online entry form must be completed (http://vp.eventival.eu/poff/15/films) filmography of director, stills of the film, synopsis of the film) on CD and a preview copy (DVD) with English subtitles should be sent to our office.

The competition selection will be announced to the applicants by October 1, 2011.

This year’s Animated Dreams is set for November 16 – 20, 2011, and you can find the submission guidelines at http://2011.anima.ee/est/animated-dreams/call-for-entries/Rules

11/16/2011 – 11/20/2011

Dreamworks Animation Fine Art Releases Art Portfolio for “Kung Fu Panda 2″

The all-new and highly anticipated animated feature film Kung Fu Panda 2 from DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) is the focus of an elaborate new portfolio of art now available to art collectors and movie fans alike from DreamWorks Animation Fine Art. The film is a follow-up to Kung Fu Panda, the number one animated worldwide theatrical release of 2008.

The Kung Fu Panda 2 art portfolio represents the largest and most diversified array of artwork ever released in support of a single film from Sanders Art Studio, the sole authorized global publisher of DreamWorks Animation Fine Art. There are 47 pieces in total being released in the Kung Fu Panda 2 art portfolio.

A highlight of the new Kung Fu Panda 2 art portfolio is a unique and impressive multi-image portrait (11” x 17”) of the film’s central character Po (the Panda Bear). The giclée imagery has been printed directly onto a bamboo veneer. Created using archival water-based inks, the bamboo portrait is a completely recyclable substrate making it a 100% green fine art product. The hand numbered, limited edition portrait of only 50 features a framed SRP of $750.

Additional imagery in the portfolio include 44 fine art giclée prints on acid free, museum quality, watercolor paper that are hand-numbered to an edition size of merely 50 pieces each worldwide. Each image comes with a suggested retail price of $250 ($500 framed retail). The imagery ranges from exquisite concept art, lush background art, character model sketches and moments directly from the film.

The Kung Fu Panda 2 art portfolio also includes two colorful laser cels (6” x 8”). Laser cels are a lithograph technology where the image is printed on industrial grade Mylar that will not fade, chip, crack or deteriorate but will retain the same bright colors as original hand-painted animation cels. Each cel is matted and features a uniquely numbered laser etched medallion, embedded within the matt itself. “Feet of Fury” and “The Flying Fists of the Furious Five” have been published in an edition size of 500 each and feature a SRP of $20.

“We have created this large assortment of artwork from ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ based on the ongoing popularity of the original film imagery and the appeal of the characters,” said KC Sanders, owner of Sanders Art Studio. “Animation enthusiasts, film buffs and art collectors alike will all find something of interest in this new portfolio. The range of art represented presents something for everyone.”

All of the new art from Kung Fu Panda 2 comes with a certificate of authenticity and is available from Sanders Art Studio: www.dreamworksanimationfineart.com.

DreamWorks Animation Fine Art produces hand-crafted, limited-edition artwork from unforgettable DreamWorks Animation films, including unique, artistic interpretations of the Shrek movies, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Monsters vs. Aliens and Bee Movie.